Kirby Smart gives update on star RBs Nick Chubb, Sony Michel at SEC Media Days
Georgia fans wanting a little more insight on the recovery of star running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will have to continue waiting on the edge of their seats, likely for the next few weeks leading into summer camps.
Coach Kirby smart addressed reporters during SEC Media Days on Tuesday morning and touched on each player’s injury progression, but couldn’t detail whether either (or both) would be available come the Week 1 regular season opener against North Carolina on Sept. 3.
“So with Sony’s situation, there’s just a lot of unknown,” said Smart. “How fast does he heal, how fast does the muscle repair itself? I don’t think we’ll know availability until closer to the first or second scrimmages. We’ll know closer to then how long it will actually take.”
Michel suffered an open fracture during an off-road ATV accident over July 4 weekend and is expected to make a full recovery. He led the Bulldogs with 1,136 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in 2015 after Chubb went down with a significant, season-ending knee injury in Week 6 against Tennessee.
#UGA coach Kirby Smart said Sony Michel suffered open wound when he broke his arm in ATV accident & spent a week in hospital before release
— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) July 12, 2016
As for Chubb, things look slightly more promising for an early return, but questions still loom.
“The big thing with Nick is going to be full, live-contact tackling,” Smart said. “The psychological factor of taking the first hits and the tackling is going to be a big part of that.”
In the meantime, senior Brendan Douglas is expected to receive most of the touches, with freshmen Tae Crowder and Elijah Holyfield joining the mix. But the absence of two superstars in the backfield hinders what Smart wants to establish on offense in the early-goings.
“It makes it tough. It puts a lot more stress on the coaches, especially the offensive coaches, as far as how we handle those first two scrimmages,” said Smart. “Our identity is big, physical, and we want to run the ball. Well the two backs that are best at doing that have two questions marks by them.
“It does give us an opportunity to get some other guys ready, and other guys prepared,” he added. “And thank goodness we do have some other guys to get ready. But certainly those two guys are feature players, really good players that we want to have ready for every contest. But we’re going to do what’s best long-term for those guys.”